NCIS has stood out above most of its police procedural peers for years, thanks to its lovable cast of eclectic characters and almost uncanny longevity. The CBS show has been running since 2003, and the ongoing Season 19 finds the series as strong as ever. However, it’s clear that possibly the show’s most massive change yet is on the not-too-distant horizon, and it’s been looking that way for a while. For 18 years, the stalwart leader of the titular investigative team on “NCIS” has been Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon), who was the backbone of the show for its first 18 seasons.
There is a reason why the above sentence is in the past tense. NCIS Season 19 has revealed that new developments, coupled with 18 seasons of hard-hitting investigations weighing on his broad shoulders, have made Gibbs decide that he’s done with his NCIS job and plans to carve out a new life for himself. by himself in Alaska. It’s an understandable development for the character for anyone who watched the season 18 finale.
The episode featured Gibbs boarding a ship that was not meant to last long. As he sailed out to sea, he unexpectedly snapped. Thankfully, fans spotted Gibbs’ body soon after and he was soon swimming back to shore. He let everyone know that Gibbs would be back for season 19, but it definitely gave the impression that he wouldn’t be around much longer.
Mark Harmon’s departure from the show is reportedly pretty final, at least, in his starring capacity. After all, the star has only signed on for a limited number of episodes for season 19, and Gibbs’ decision to remain in Alaska pretty much cuts him out of the fabric of the show for the foreseeable future. Additionally, the current season introduces a new star power in the form of Katrina Law and Harmon’s rumored replacement, Gary Cole.
Harmon’s limited-episode deal means Gibbs has effectively left his active role on the show behind, but showrunner Steven D. Binder is quick to point out that the actor will keep a behind-the-scenes role, and there’s always an opportunity for an en. -Back to the screen, too.
“As executive producer and dear friend, Mark continues to be an integral part of the fabric of the show,” said Binder. “Our North Star has always stayed true to our characters, and that truth has always guided the stories we tell and where those characters go. So, regarding Gibbs’ future, as longtime fans of the show may have noted over over the years. …never write Leroy Jethro Gibbs off.”
That means viewers may not have shed their last tears for Gibbs yet. If we were betting, we’d be willing to bet money on Mark Harmon’s return for the series finale… whenever that happens.